This is an in-depth and comprehensive guide covering everything you need to know about getting officially certified & licensed to legally operate a forklift in the United States.
It includes step-by-step instructions, in addition to answering the most common questions along the way.
So if you’re wondering how to get your license to operate a forklift, this handbook is for you.
In order to start the process of getting your forklift certification, you must first verify that you meet all of the following requirements:
After you have verified that you meet the basic requirements listed above, the next step is to enroll for your formal certification training. This training covers the principles of safe forklift operation, the types of vehicle(s) being used in the workplace, the hazards of the workplace created by the use of the vehicle(s), and the general safety requirements of the OSHA standard.
This training can be completed through a variety of different organizations, including The National Forklift Foundation, an employers’ association, a labor union, joint labor-management training organization, or any other organization meeting the requirements of the most up-to-date 1910.178(l)(6) standard. To enroll in The National Forklift Foundation’s most up-to-date training now – click here.
Yes. The instructional training can be completed online. The physical training & evaluation will be provided by your employer and will be discussed in more detail below.
This training typically takes ~1.5 hours for someone with no previous forklift experience & ~45 minutes for someone with prior experience.
The instructional training is valid in all 50 U.S. States. After the training is complete you can apply for jobs in your local area.
The cost for this training can vary depending on what organization you are receiving it from. The National Forklift Foundation charges $45 per operator.
While each organization offers unique training, The National forklift foundation offers training through a combination of slides and videos.
To verify completion of the instructional training, you must pass a formal evaluation covering the material you learned through the training.
The length and type of evaluation you take varies depending on where you are taking the training. The National Forklift Foundation offers a 29 question – multiple choice evaluation that is included with the training course.
Most organizations will let you take the examination as many times as needed until you receive a passing score.
After you successfully complete the instructional evaluation, you will receive a formal certification document. Valid documents must include:
You should save a copy of this document for your records. Be prepared to show this document to your current or future employer as well. In addition, if you receive your certification from The National Forklift Foundation, they will store a copy of this documentation if your employer wants to verify authenticity.
It is standard procedure for employers to simply require a digital version of this certificate. This can be sent to them via email or other messaging platform.
Once you have received your certification document, you can start applying for forklift operator positions in your local area. It is important to update your resume to reflect that you have received your certification, because your employer will need this for their records.
It is not required to have previous forklift experience to apply for most forklift operator positions. Once you are hired, your employer is required to train you on the equipment located in their facility.
Once you have been hired as an operator, your employer is responsible for providing you with the practical (demonstration and practical exercises) training on the equipment you will be using in the workplace. Once they have showed you how to properly operate the vehicle, your employer will evaluate if you are competent to operate the forklift safely. They will then sign off on the certification document you previously received.